Football Ferns' coach Andreas Heraf set to leave role

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Football,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 31 July 2018, 9:35AM

Controversial Football Ferns' coach Andreas Heraf is set to leave New Zealand Football by the end of this week.

Heraf has been suspended, on special leave with full pay, since 20th June, when an investigation was commisioned into the Ferns environment and culture.

But it's understood that arrangement will soon come to a close, and he won't be returning to either of his NZF positions.

His suspension followed the news, revealed by the New Zealand Herald, that at 12 Ferns players had written letters of complaint about their coach.

The letters are believed to contain allegations around bullying, intimidation and a culture of fear.

Those players also told NZF at the time that they would not be available for the Ferns, while Heraf remained in charge of the national team.

Their move sparked a wide scale review and investigation into NZF, which is ongoing.
That investigation has already led to the resignation of former CEO Andy Martin.

Heraf is one of the most powerful figures in the sport, as NZF's national technical director and Ferns' coach.

He started in his position as technical director in August last year, and by December had taken on the role of Ferns coach.

Heraf was supposed to be in charge of assessing potential candidates following former Ferns' coach Tony Reading's retirement last November, but essentially appointed himself to the role, albeit on an interim basis until the Women's World Cup next year.

His tenure appeared to have problems from the start. There was rumours of issues on the March tour to Spain, then heavy fallout from his negative tactics and post-match comments following the 3-1 loss to Japan in Wellington last month, before the player's shock allegations.

However, in an interview with an Austrian newspaper earlier this month, Heraf denied the allegations and said the players' simply struggled with his different style.

"The players oppose my European style, with high standards and high expectations of professionalism, and prefer a fun and family culture with a focus on making fun videos and opening up to social networking."

"It's not a problem for me, fun culture and professionalism is not mutually exclusive if you say that we are 100 per cent committed to what we agreed to do, just as the players pretended to be in tactics, I told them that it would not be possible to have a say in the preparation and composition of the supervisor staff.''

Heraf also claimed to Der Standard that there was a ''large-scale conspiracy'' but he was also confident he could clear up the allegations, and stay in both his roles.

"Some people wrote in the letter that they would not be available [to play for the Football Ferns if Heraf stayed as coach] under these circumstances, you have to take note of that, but I would talk to everyone again and try to change their minds, and I assume that too this thing is cooked hotter than it is eaten."

But that won't happen, and it's believed that his departure will be confirmed in the next few days.

Heraf declined to comment when contacted by the New Zealand Herald last week.

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